NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 90
Submitted by Norman Giller
Spurs growing into the season
Son Heung-Min, Tottenham’s gift to headline writers and pun spinners, has quickly earned hero status at White Hart Lane, and his winning goal against Crystal Palace yesterday sent a hurricane of relief blowing through Spurs land.
It’s the next three games – Arsenal in the Capital Cup on Wednesday, Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday and then Monaco in the Europa League – that will signpost just what Mauricio Pochettino can achieve with his young warriors.
All the signs yesterday were that Spurs are growing into the season after a stuttering start. The Lloris-Alderweirweld-Vertonghen triangle at the heart of the defence is rock solid, and arguably the best since way back when Pat Jennings, Mike England and Phil Beal were holding the fort. Meantime, Eric Dier improves with every game and the watching Roy Hodgson must be considering him for England’s midfield anchor role.
Son has injected much needed pace, while the enigmatic Lamela and the audacious Dele Alli have enough tricks between them to start their own magic circle.
The reassuring sight of Christian Eriksen returning after injury means there will be more composure in the coming weeks, and now all it needs is to get our Harry Kane hitting the target again. We have not seen enough yet from Clinton N’Jie, but hopefully he is the support striker who can help get Harry’s mojo working.
I read some spiteful sniping on line about Harry being a one season wonder, but I am convinced that he will go off on another goal-scoring spree once he breaks his Tottenham duck for this campaign. It would be nice if he could start against the Woolwich Nomads.
It was odd yesterday how the one Tottenham goal came from the sort of counter attack that Palace had been banking on. I hope Lamela is given the credit he deserves for winning the ball with steely determination and then launching the goal-scoring move with a perfectly delivered pass to Eriksen. It was transferred in the blink of an eye to Son, who got the goal his 100% effort and enterprise deserved. I refuse to write corny things like ‘Get in there, my Son’, White Hart Lane is now the House of the Rising Son’, ‘the Son also rises in Tottenham’. I would never lend my name to such rubbish. Suffice to say he looks a proper player.
I wonder if he can maintain his goal scoring touch in the North London derby? Go on, my Son.
Spurs Odyssey regular reader Joe Franks has asked me who I would select as the greatest right-back I have seen in a Tottenham shirt. The answer is easy: Alf Ramsey, who wore the No 2 shirt in the magnificent Push and Run Spurs.
He played with poise and purpose, one of those players who was not the fastest thing on two feet but was so calculating with his positional play that he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
Remember, he played in the era when every team had two flying wingers and full-backs had to commit themselves to determined and disciplined defence. They did not have the freedom to make overlapping runs.
Alf won 32 England caps, and Bill Nicholson used to joke that he deserved at least half of them because of his covering play at right-half in the Tottenham team that won the Second and First Division titles in back to back seasons, 1949-50, 1950-51.
Arthur Rowe, architect of the Push and Run policy, made Alf his first major signing from Southampton because he knew he shared his make-it-simple-make-it-quick principles.
Nicknamed ‘The General’ because of his fanaticism for talking football tactics, Ramsey took the secrets of simple football with him into management, and there was something of the push and run style about the Ipswich side he steered to the League championship and the England team he led to the World Cup in 1966.
Alf was a studious player and then manager, who performed miracles by turning Ipswich Town, a team of veterans, discards and misfits, into League champions. Four years later he was knighted for steering England to the 1966 World Cup (after leaving Spurs idol Jimmy Greaves out of the team for the final!). Spurs stats: 226 League games (24 goals), 24 FA Cup matches. Most of his goals came from the penalty spot.
I have not seen a better player in the Spurs No 2 shirt.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 7
Week SEVEN of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and most of you collected three points last week by correctly answering this teaser: “I was born in Hertfordshire, won 25 caps and was an FA Cup winner with Spurs as a central defender. Who am I and which club did I join from Tottenham in 1984?”
My English-born clue was a red herring that did not catch many of you out, and most identified Welsh international Paul Price, who moved on to Swansea. He later played in the United States before making a successful new life for himself in Australia.
This week’s challenge: “I have won 78 international caps and scored for Spurs from the penalty spot in a League Cup final at Wembley. Who am I and against which Premier League team did I score four goals in one game for Tottenham?”
You get two points for identifying the former Tottenham player and a bonus point for naming the team against which he scored four Premier League goals.
Keep a check on your points tally, because the contestant topping the SOQL table at the end of the season will receive a huge, personally autographed photograph of Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves, plus a signed, framed certificate announcing the winner as the 2015-16 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion.
Email your answers, please, to SOQL7@normangillerbooks.com. Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will respond, and will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to the sender of the first all-correct answer drawn at random. Closing date for entries: midnight this Friday.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers last week is Jim Fordham, of Colchester. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Jim, who has been a Spurs supporter since the 1968-69 season.
Wonder what mood we will all be in this time next week! Hope it’s not a case of ‘Sonny, why so blue?”
Sorry. I will leave the page.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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